Evolution of mitotic cell-lineages in multicellular organisms

Torbjörn Fagerström, David A. Briscoe, Paul Sunnucks

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43 Citations (Scopus)


Adaptive evolution in multicellular organisms is generally assumed to occur through natural selection acting differentially among the phenotypes programmed by sexually-generated zygotic genotypes. Under this view, only genetic changes in the gamete-zygote-germline-gamete cycle are considered relevant to the evolutionary process. Yet asexuality - production of progeny through proliferation of mitotic cell-lineages - is found in over one half of all eukaryotic phyla, and is likely to contribute to adaptive changes, as suggested by recent evidence from both animals and plants. Adaptive changes in mitotic lineages can be reconciled with contemporary evolutionary thought by fully abandoning the weismannian concept of individuality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-120
Number of pages4
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1998

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